Saturday, February 13, 2010

Challenge Updates

I haven't posted anything about the challenge in a couple of weeks. You probbly think I gave up on it and that's completely wrong. Honestly, I received a nasty gram (I could have termed it much worse) from a person that just floored me stating that I wasn't being honest, etc. Quite frankly it pissed me off. But the fact of the matter is, and those that I consider to be my friends will tell you, my goal is to become debt free. I have one credit and a house payment and I truly want to see if I can pay them both in the next couple of years, with the house being the hardest to accomplish.

I was quite frankly hurt by the e-mail and so I didn't post what I had accomplished. Then, a friend of mine talked to me about it this past week and convinced me to continue posting my accomplishments in the hopes that maybe it can motivate some of you to take a hard look at your finances and start turning them around.

The challenge started on December 26th, 2009. It's now day 50 of the challenge and here's where I stand at this point:

Credit Card beginning balance = $3,249.29
Current Balance = $2,286.13
Paid Down $963.16

Savings beginning balance = $900.00
Savings current balance = $1,300.00
$400 Increase

401K = I had stopped putting into my 401K when the market tanked. I started doing that again at the beginning of the challenge. Currently I am only putting $35.00 into it and have put $140.00 into it since 12/26/2009.

Insurance at work changed so I had to change with it. I set up a HSA (Health Savings Account) and am putting $30 a paycheck into it. If you have never heard of a HSA, the money is for medical use only. At the age of $65 you can take the money out to use for other things, but you will be taxed on it. It's different than a regular 125 plan because it rolls over continuously. Due to the economic changes, my company is no longer able to refund our out of pocket deductible as they previously did. Now I have no complaints here. What they did previously was extremely grascious and I have never worked for another company that did the same thing. My goal is to build up the HSA to have the amount in it that the hubby and I would have to come out of pocket in a single year for our insurance deductible. That number is $5,000.00. Right now I am not putting that much into it because I am concentrating on paying off the credit card and banking that our good health will continue through this year. Unfortunately, with the old 125 play, I have lost money the last couple of years because we didn't use the amount that I had put aside out of my check. I could have set up this insurance plan without the HSA, but because the money rolls each year and you can keep adding to it, I found it to be a worthwhile investment.

With regards to the groceries, I have cut way back on the groceryshopping. The last time that I went to the grocery store was the first Mega week at Krogers (3 weeks ago). Even though there have been some really great deals at Walgreens and CVS lately, I have steered clear of everywhere to cut out needless spending. Now, I am allotted, according to the challenge $35/week on groceries (the true amount was $50 but I said I could do it in $35). The trip to Krogers totaled $204.00 and I paid $72 for a savings of $132. Add that to the previous total of $48.21 and you have a grand total of $180.21 in groceries using coupons. Now you may think that is not a great amount, but I have only shopped 4 of the 7 weeks the challenge has been running. We have a fairly large stockpile and I have been making use of it, and quite frankly not putting much of a dent in it. I honestly think we could go for a year without having to buy any groceries excep for milk, eggs and bread. It's a good feeling know we have that much of a stockpile in cash times were to go just go kaput.

I had earned a $25 Visa Gift Card from one of the survey sites and had $8 and change at Amazon so I purchased a 12 pack box of Begging Strips for the pooches. No money out of my pocket so that was a complete savings as well.

All in all, I think I've done pretty well so far. There will be another payment to the credit card this month and I'm hoping to make it a substantial one. I will be so excited to have the balance below $2,000. It hasn't been below that balance in 7 years. I can't wait. Once you begin paying down your debt and you see the numbers on paper, it is truly a motivator to keep going.

Of course there are things that I want. When is there not a time that I want things, but I have a goal and am devoted to it. Now if I just keep that same goal with my weight, we are in business!

Woo Hoo...it's a great day in the neighborhood.





This post is part of the Becentsable Gathering
Compensated Affiliate

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